There is no assurance that PKR will be able to retain its Kapar seat in the 13th general election.
The seat is held by PKR’s S Manikavasagam. He wrested it from MIC’s Komala Devi by a 12,297- vote majority in the 2008 general election.
Last month, MCLM introduced Dr Nedunchelian Vengu as the Barisan Rakyat independent candidate (BRIC) for Kapar, taking the battle for the seat to a new level.
The local-born dentist, who chose to run in Kapar, has a thriving dental practice in the constituency and has been actively involved in social work for 20 years.
Kapar is the largest constituency in the country with 125,000 voters.
Despite PKR having won the seat with a comfortable majority, there is no guarantee that the party will retain the seat in the 13th general election.
A local Umno leader, who declined to be named, told FMT that PKR would be facing a tough fight in Kapar.
“Internal problems in the division and the clash between Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and Manikavasagam are a few things that might drown the PKR ‘ship’ in Kapar in the upcoming election,” he said.
MIC could still win
He said that Nedunchelian, who is better known as Dr Nedu, is a prominent figure in Kapar, especially among the Indian community.
“We should understand that in 2008, PKR won the seat because of a major swing of the Indian community to Pakatan Rakyat after the rise of the Hindraf movement.
“This time we cannot expect the same scenario,” he said.
He also said that Nedu will definitely play a major role among Indian voters.
“Although Manikavasagam had done some good stuff to the Kapar people, it is still not enough,” he said, adding that the current political climate favoured parties and not candidates..
When asked about MIC’s contribution in the constituency, he said that the Barisan Nasional ally was a “forgotten history”.
“MIC has already lost ground in Kapar. The party is now riding on Umno shoulder,” said.
He, however, believes that Kapar could return to MIC if the Malay votes swing back to BN.
He said in the 2008 general election, PKR won with a 14% vote majority, which was considered small in a constituency like Kapar.
“I believe MIC will regain the seat if 5% of the Malay votes go back to Umno and 15% of the Indian votes are clinched by MIC,” he said.
No room for independents
Meanwhile, a PKR leader has denied a rumour that Manikavasagam will be replaced with a new candidate.
“He is doing a lot of good things in the constituency. So, why should the people vote against him?” asked the leader who declined to be named.
According to him, Malay voters will play a major role. Fifty percent of Kapar’s constituents are Malays, followed by 36% Chinese and 14% Indian voters.
“We (PKR) are very sure that 80% of the Chinese will support Pakatan Rakyat while the Malay votes will be split into 50-50″.
However, he admitted that the Indian votes were still an unpredictable lot.
“The Indian community is not happy with the state government. It’s difficult to tell. Based on this simple calculation, there is no doubt that PKR will retain this seat,” he said.
When asking about Nedu, the PKR leader said peninsular Malaysians had no faith in independent candidates.
“It is too early to be talking about a third force. The people are not yet prepared to accept a third force,” he added.